Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Sisia, 53, is expected to face the Court of Arbitration for Sports in the weeks to come. The court hearing of CAS will take place at their office in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Bayelsa-born ex-international has a life ban by FIFA hanging on his neck in which he intends to clear by all means necessary.
Siasia has been faced with many plight of recent, with the kidnapping of his mother and now his pending court case. Members of Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) have appealed to Nigerians to contribute to the former eagles fees as he is said to be struggling to come up with the lumpsome amount. Siasia is expected to raise legal fees of $250,000 to fight his appeal at the Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS).
A new date was given to Siasia after his lawyers pleaded for more time. More time was needed as a result of the earlier date of the hearing which was slated for October last year in which the lawyers claim were too close to allow him to raise the required defence fee put at a whopping £250,000 (N100m).
After the shift in date, an update on the current status of his case was kept mum until recently when he cried out to Nigerians to come to his aid by contributing as low as N500 to help him raise the fee. According to his calculation, if 200,000 kind hearted Nigerians could put down N500 each, the huge sum would be complete and he could get the desired hearing from CAS.
His appeal for assistance which was put via a video on social media which was returned with a huge debate for and against him. Those sympathetic to his plight have even called Nigerians “unpatriotic” and “inhuman” for not showing solidarity and contributing towards the ‘save Siasia’ cry.
Others who are obviously in the majority have questioned Siasia’s appeal, querying whether he ever played or worked for Nigeria for free. They argued that he was handsomely rewarded as a player and paid all his entitlements as a coach and therefore he should be able to carry his cross alone.
Former football player Chief Segun Odegbami has shown sympathy for Siasia and consistently written on the FIFA ban and queried the rationale behind handing him a life ban as if he committed a capital offence.
“That is the area I think Nigerians should be concerned about. Why life ban for a man who has not been tried and found guilty? The life ban is coming with a fine of $50,000, about N18 million. You ban a man for life, that he should not have anything to do with football again, the only thing he knows how to do to feed self and family and you ask him again to pay you N18million? Absolutely ridiculous” Segun Odegbami said in a statement.
Before Siasia, FIFA had equally banned another Nigerian, Dr Amos Adamu, a former colleague of theirs on the FIFA Executive Committee, who was found guilty of taking bribe. Adamu, who was caught on camera committing the alleged crime, investigated and found guilty was banned for only two years and fined only 10,000 Swiss Franc. This then raise eyebrows as to why then slam a life ban on Siasia with a heavy fine.
This is clearly an injustice which Chief Odegbami has frowned at. According to the former Green Eagles captain, even though “Samson did not respond to two email messages sent to him (by FIFA) to defend himself, “the facts (they have) do not tally with the alleged offense or the gravity of the conviction”.
Odegbami concluded thus: “I have followed the many scandals of FIFA in the past few years. The allegation against Samson Siasia pales in insignificance compared to the least of the many horrendous crimes committed by powerful men inside the organization that stole FIFA dry, and almost destroyed its integrity. At the end of the day, what happened to them? Even Blatter and his co-travellers were slapped on the wrist compared to Samson’s sin and sentence”.
When all is said and done, Siasia dealt his cards wrong by not responding to FIFA’s invitation. The dilemma of raising N100m just to appear at CAS to clear his name is now a heavy burden placed upon him. Especially not knowing what the outcome will be. Will he get the funds in time to make it to clear his name? Only time will tell as we will report more as the dilemma unfolds